LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
AB 1665, Eduardo Garcia. Telecommunications: California Advanced Services Fund.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law establishes, among other funds related to telecommunications, the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) in the State Treasury. Existing law requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the CASF to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies, as provided in specified decisions of the commission and in the CASF statute. Existing law requires the commission to give priority to projects that provide last-mile broadband access to households that are unserved by an existing facility-based broadband provider. Existing law establishes that the goal of the program is, no later than December 31, 2015, to approve funding for infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98% of California households. Existing law authorizes the commission to collect a surcharge for deposit into the CASF not to exceed $315,000,000 in total and authorizes the surcharge until 2020. Existing law establishes 4 accounts, the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account, the Broadband Infrastructure and Revolving Loan Account, and the Broadband Public Housing Account, within the CASF and specifies the amount of moneys to be deposited into each account.
This bill would revise the goal of the program to provide that its goal is to approve funding by December 31, 2022, for infrastructure projects that will provide broadband access to no less than 98% of California households in each consortia region, as identified by the commission on or before January 1, 2017. The bill would eliminate the Broadband Infrastructure and Revolving Loan Account and would require the transfer of the remaining unencumbered moneys in that account as of January 1, 2018, and the deposit of moneys collected that would be owed to that account into the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account.
The bill would establish within the CASF the Broadband Adoption Account and would require specified amounts of moneys to be deposited into this new account, the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, and the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account. The bill repeals the current authorization to collect up to $315,000,000 for deposit in the CASF at a rate of up to $25,000,000 per year through the 2020 calendar year, and instead would authorize the commission to collect $330,000,000 for deposit into the CASF beginning January 1, 2018, and continuing through the 2022 calendar year.
The bill would revise the eligibility requirements for projects and project applicants for grants funded from the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account. The bill would make moneys from the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account available to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure by assisting infrastructure grant applicants in the project development or grant application process.
The bill would require recipients of those moneys to conduct an annual audit and to submit to the commission an annual report regarding activities funded by those moneys. The bill would make available moneys in the Broadband Adoption Account to specified entities for digital literacy training, public education, and outreach programs to increase broadband adoption by consumers.
Existing law requires the commission to conduct and report to the Legislature, by April 1, 2021, a final financial audit and a final performance audit of the CASF.
This bill would require the commission to conduct and report to the Legislature, by April 1, 2020, an interim financial audit and an interim performance audit. The bill would delay the date for the submission of the final audits to April 1, 2023.
Existing law requires the commission to annually report specified information relative to the CASF to the Legislature. Existing law repeals these reporting requirements on January 1, 2022.
This bill would revise the information specified for inclusion in the report. The bill would repeal these reporting requirements on January 1, 2024. The bill would require the commission to identify unserved areas and delineate the areas in the annual reports. The bill would require the commission to consult regional consortia, stakeholders, and consumers regarding priority areas and cost-effective strategies to achieve the broadband access goal through public workshops conducted at least annually no later than April 30 of each year.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because a violation of an order or decision of the commission implementing the bill’s requirements would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Full Bill is Under Goverment Tab.